FRANKFORT — A circuit court judge for McCreary and Whitley counties has been publicly reprimanded for sending campaign materials via email to all Kentucky circuit court judges last year touting Republican Rand Paul's bid for the U.S. Senate.
The state Judicial Conduct Commission dismissed two other judicial misconduct charges against Daniel L. Ballou of Williamsburg for allegedly contributing $562 to U.S. Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.
The commission said Ballou violated the state judicial conduct code by publicly endorsing Paul for public office and by engaging in political activity. Ballou agreed to the commission's order.
Ballou sent an email in January 2010 about Paul's stance on the Second Amendment dealing with the right to bear arms.
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The judicial canons, which govern judicial conduct, say a judge "shall refrain from inappropriate political activity." According to the canons, political activity includes soliciting money or making contributions to a political organization or candidate. The canons also say a judge cannot publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office.
Ballou denied all the allegations in a motion filed with the Judicial Conduct Commission on Jan. 21.
Ballou said the campaign donation to McCain occurred while Ballou was deployed on military duty in Iraq. He said he bought several items that included McCain's likeness via the Internet. At the time, he did not know that those purchases would be considered a political donation, he said in court documents.
The email regarding Paul's Second Amendment stance was not intended as an endorsement or to take a political position, he said.
Ballou said in documents that he had "forwarded an email from his personal computer to a limited number of fellow judges, none of whom could be reasonably expected to be subject to improper political persuasion or influence."